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Public Health Nutr. 2015 Aug;18(11):2074-93. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014002614. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

The impact of whole-of-diet interventions on depression and anxiety: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

Author information

1
1Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences,La Trobe University,Melbourne,VIC 3086,Australia.
2
2IMPACT Strategic Research Centre,School of Medicine,Deakin University,Geelong,Victoria,Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Non-pharmacological approaches to the treatment of depression and anxiety are of increasing importance, with emerging evidence supporting a role for lifestyle factors in the development of these disorders. Observational evidence supports a relationship between habitual diet quality and depression. Less is known about the causative effects of diet on mental health outcomes. Therefore a systematic review was undertaken of randomised controlled trials of dietary interventions that used depression and/or anxiety outcomes and sought to identify characteristics of programme success.

DESIGN:

A systematic search of the Cochrane, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PubMed and PyscInfo databases was conducted for articles published between April 1971 and May 2014.

RESULTS:

Of the 1274 articles identified, seventeen met eligibility criteria and were included. All reported depression outcomes and ten reported anxiety or total mood disturbance. Compared with a control condition, almost half (47%) of the studies observed significant effects on depression scores in favour of the treatment group. The remaining studies reported a null effect. Effective dietary interventions were based on a single delivery mode, employed a dietitian and were less likely to recommend reducing red meat intake, select leaner meat products or follow a low-cholesterol diet.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although there was a high level of heterogeneity, we found some evidence for dietary interventions improving depression outcomes. However, as only one trial specifically investigated the impact of a dietary intervention in individuals with clinical depression, appropriately powered trials that examine the effects of dietary improvement on mental health outcomes in those with clinical disorders are required.

KEYWORDS:

Depression; Diet; Diet intervention; Mental health

PMID:
25465596
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980014002614
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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